peninsula in Western Asia
(Redirected from Arabian Peninsula)

Arabia is a peninsula in West Asia, situated northeast of Africa and south of the Levant and the Persian Gulf. Arabia is the birthplace of Islam, and has been the inspiration for literary works worldwide.

Quotes edit

  • "What happened to us?" The question haunts us in the Arab and Muslim world. We repeat it like a mantra. You will hear it from Iran to Syria, from Saudi Arabia to Pakistan, and in my own country of Lebanon. For us, the past is a different country, one that is not mired in the horrors of sectarian killings; a more vibrant place, without the crushing intolerance of religious zealots and seemingly endless, amorphous wars. Though the past had coups and wars too, they were contained in time and space, and the future still held much promise. “What happened to us?” The question may not occur to those too young to remember a different world, or whose parents did not tell them of a youth spent reciting poetry in Peshawar, debating Marxism late into the night in the bars of Beirut, or riding bicycles to picnic on the banks of the Tigris River in Baghdad. The question may also surprise those in the West who assume that the extremism and the bloodletting of today were always the norm.
    • Kim Ghattas, Black Wave: Saudi Arabia, Iran and the Forty-Year Rivalry That Unraveled Culture, Religion, and Collective Memory in the Middle East (2016)

Geography edit

  • Thence, southward bending to the Orient, laves
    The Erythrean, with its ocean waves,
    Of all earth’s shores the fairest richest strand,
    And noblest tribes possess that happy land.

    First of all wonders, still forever soar
    Sweet clouds of fragrance from that breathing shore.
    The myrrh, the odorous cane, the cassia there,
    And ever-ripening incense balms the air.
    For in that land the all-ruling King on high
    Set free young Bacchus from his close-bound thigh;
    Broke odors from each tree at that fair birth,
    And one unbounded fragrance filled the earth.
    ’Neath golden fleeces stooped the o’er-laden flocks,
    And streams came bounding from the living rocks.
    Birds from strange isles, and many an untrod shore,
    With leaves of cinnamon, were flying o’er.
    Loose from his shoulders hung the fawn-skin down,
    In his fair hair was wreathed the ivy-crown:
    Ruddy his lips with wine. He shook his wand,
    Smiling, and wealth o’erflowed the gifted land.
    Whence still the fields with liquid incense teem,
    The hills with gold, with odors every stream;
    And in their pride her sumptuous sons enfold
    Their limbs in soft attire and robes of gold.

Exploration edit

  • Who are these from the strange, ineffable places,
      From the Topaze Mountain and Desert of Doubt,
    With the glow of the Yemen full on their faces,
      And a breath from the spices of Hadramaut?
    Travel-apprentices, travel-indenturers,
      Young men, old men, black hair, white,
    Names to conjure with, wild adventurers,
      From the noonday furnace and purple night.
    Burckhardt, Halévy, Niebuhr, Slater,
      Seventeenth, eighteenth-century bays,
    Seetzen, Sadleir, Struys, and later
      Down to the long Victorian days.
    A thousand miles at the back of Aden,
      There they had time to think of things;
    In the outer silence and burnt air laden
      With the shadow of death and a vulture’s wings.
    There they remembered the last house in Samna,
      Last of the plane-trees, last shepherd and flock,
    Prayed for the heavens to rain down manna,
      Prayed for a Moses to strike the rock.
    Famine and fever flagged their forces
      Till they died in a dream of ice and fruit,
    In the long-forgotten watercourses
      By the edge of Queen Zobëide’s route.
    They have left the hope of the green oases,
      The fear of the bleaching bones and the pest,
    They have found the more ineffable places—
      Allah has given them rest.

Exoticism edit

  • Her stature like the tall straight cedar-trees,
    Whose stately bulks do fame th’ Arabian groves,
    • "The Description of Silvestro’s Lady"
      R. Greene, Morando; The Tritameron of Love (1587)
  • Drops tears as fast as the Arabian trees
    Their medicinable gum.
  •   Th’ Arabian dew besmears
    My uncontrollèd brow
    • "To Live Merrily and to Trust to Good Verses"
      R. Herrick, Hesperides (1648)
  • [S]o sweet, so rich an air,
    As breathes from the Arabian grove.
    • "Laura Sleeping"
      C. Cotton, Poems on Several Occasions (1689)
  • For him the Rich Arabia sweats her Gum;
  • This Casket India’s glowing Gems unlocks,
    And all Arabia breathes from yonder Box.
    • A. Pope, The Rape of the Lock (2nd ed., 1714), Canto I
  • For Adoration, incense comes
    From bezoar, and Arabian gums,
  • And, where the charmer treads her magic toe,
    On English ground Arabian odours grow;
  • In hideous conference sits the listening band,
    And start at each low wind, or wakeful sound;
    What though thy stay the pilgrim curseth oft,
    As all-benighted in Arabian wastes
    He hears the wilderness around him howl
    With roaming monsters,
  • O’er his wounds she sprinkled dew
    From flowers that in Arabia grew:
  • No Nightingale did ever chaunt
      More welcome notes to weary bands
    Of travellers in some shady haunt,
      Among Arabian sands:
  • The wizard lights and demon play
    Of nights Walpurgis and Arabian!

See also edit

Further reading edit

External links edit

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